Is there a difference between product publicity and business publicity and which one is right for you?
To some entrepreneurs and business owners, the answer to this question might be, “it doesn’t matter — publicity is publicity and I’ll take all I can get.” True to a degree, but the smart entrepreneur knows that there is a strong difference between product and business publicity and their respective effects on your bottom line.
Sure, the bottom line is to create consumer/industry awareness of the product or business and increase sales. But how you go about increasing that awareness, that brand recognition, can mean the difference between publicity and obscurity.
Determining which type of publicity campaign you need is really all about timing.
What I recommend to my clients is what I call “Diversified Publicity”. Just as stockbrokers tell their clients to diversify their portfolios, the same holds true for publicity. A diversified publicity portfolio is a vibrant and active portfolio. What I mean by Diversified Publicity is creating different publicity angles based on your business’ life cycle and timing those pitches to the media for optimum exposure.
In a typical business plan, I would recommend PR campaigns/pitches in the following order:
1) Product Publicity – described below in A)
2) Business Publicity – described below in B)
* This cycle can be repeated over and over based on product improvements, additional product launches, business development and expansion, etc..
A) Diversified Publicity typically begins with a nationwide “new product publicity” campaign designed to create multiple media placements and subsequent consumer/industry interest. Many media outlets are seeking the latest in new products and will give you solid product profiles/reviews in their publications or on their shows.
B) A few months after the product campaign, we would launch a “business publicity” campaign or what I would consider a “corporate campaign”. This is a people-behind-the-product campaign, which of course indirectly plays up the product again, further generating sales. In this instance, I like to highlight new developments that have occurred since the product was first launched — product acceptance, sales milestones, the product’s impact on the industry or an individual customer, strategic alliances with other businesses, etc. This is also a great opportunity to play up newsworthy stories that may have occurred during the development of the product or business.
It should be noted that many times, especially in startup businesses, new product publicity IS business publicity — the business for all intensive purposes IS the product. You’ve all read the stories in the media describing an innovative new product. Even though the product is the main focus of the story, invariably the company behind the product is mentioned as well. If a well-known company, say Panasonic, Schwinn, or Kellogg’s launches the product, the reporter won’t go into a whole lot of detail about the company – at least in this story. But if the company or business is new, the reporter or producer will most likely include more information to introduce the company behind this innovative new product. However, a brief mention about the company in any new product stories does not qualify as a corporate campaign. You should still follow up a few months down the road with a quality corporate campaign that will detail the success of the recent product launch.
Many businesses that have launched product campaigns over the past few months or even years have never followed up with the corporate campaigns. They only rolled one of their publicity bowling balls and there are still pins standing in this frame. Perhaps the business simply tried to ride out the product publicity as long as the media would allow and now are just hoping for continued sales. As good as the product may be, it must be understood that product publicity has a shelf life – meaning you can only take advantage of new product publicity angles for a limited amount of time. Once that shelf life is over, it is time for the next step in you Diversified Publicity campaign. As a former TV reporter and producer, I can tell you from a media standpoint — I always wanted fresh meat, different stories and new angles. Whether a reporter/editor/producer used your new product pitch or passed on it, hit them again with how the product is now impacting the industry – a newsworthy angle that has developed since the product was launched a few months back. Ideally, you’ll get coverage from both pitches.
The media targets for these campaigns differ greatly as well. The new product campaign is going to have a strong consumer and general interest editorial base. The corporate campaign will have a much stronger business/industry slant and will therefore be focused toward completely different editors or producers. Researching the expansive media markets and outlets to find the most applicable media targets is the key to your publicity success.
Whether you are at the new product publicity stage or the business publicity stage, use these tips of diversified publicity to take advantage of the ever-increasing media market –keeping you, your product and your business in the equally diversified public eye.